Defining moments of 2012

 Dec 21,2012
Written by: Editor

SA Rugby looks back at the moments which - for better or for worse - made 2012 a year to remember.

27 January: Blue Bulls rugby supremo Heyneke Meyer is appointed as the new Springbok head coach, taking over from Peter de Villiers who coached South Africa from 2008 to 2011.

24 February: The opening weekend of Super Rugby gets under way in South Africa with the Bulls getting the better of the Sharks first up in Pretoria, the Stormers blowing away the Hurricanes and the Lions beat the Cheetahs - John Mitchell's pride would only taste victory again in Round 15 (against the Sharks).

25 February: Eben Etzebeth is the surprise inclusion in the Stormers side to face the Hurricanes, as the 20-year-old lock lines up for his Super Rugby debut. He would go on to represent the Springboks in all but one of South Africa's Tests this year.

31 March: A first victory on New Zealand soil saw the Cheetahs return home with with 11 log points and their tails up having recorded their most successful overseas tour to Australasia (which included wins over the Rebels and Hurricanes).

14 April: The Stormers' six-match unbeaten run comes to an end when they lose their first game of the season to the Crusaders (31-24) in Christchurch, where Tom Taylor provided all of his team's points.

29 April: In-form Cheetahs pivot Johan Goosen is ruled out for four months and misses the rest of the Super Rugby season due to injury.

26 May: The Sharks keep their play-off hopes alive with a 25-20 victory over South African conference rivals the Stormers at Kings Park in Durban.

2 June: The last round of Super Rugby fixtures are played before the tournament breaks for nearly a month during the June internationals.

4 June: South Africa coach Heyneke Meyer names experienced centre Jean de Villiers as his captain for the upcoming three-Test series against England.

9 June: De Villiers marks his debut as captain with a crucial second-half try to help the Springboks edge out England 22-17 in Durban, where fly-half Morne Steyn scored the remaining 17 points for South Africa.

16 June: JP Pietersen is named man-of-the-match as South Africa seal the series against England with a closely fought 36-27 victory in Johannesburg.

21 June: The Blue Bulls reveal that loose forward CJ Stander will leave Pretoria to join Munster at the end of the South African season.

22 June: Lions coach John Mitchell is suspended by the Super Rugby franchise, pending further investigation. The suspension comes after several players laid complaints about Mitchell to Golden Lions Rugby Union president Kevin de Klerk.

22 June: South Africa become IRB Junior World Championship winners and end New Zealand's four-year reign with a 22-16 win at Newlands in Cape Town.

23 June: England recover from their series loss to the Boks by earning a 14-all draw in the last Test match which was played in Port Elizabeth. SA were ahead 14-11 only for England to level when fly-half Owen Farrell kicked his second penalty from close range with eight minutes to go.

29/30 June: Super Rugby resumes with just three rounds remaining as the Stormers and Bulls pick up wins over the Lions and Cheetahs respectively.

13/14th July: The final round of regular season action sees the Sharks and Bulls qualify for the play-offs having finished on the top six of the overall standings, while the Stormers end top of the table and guaranteed a home semi-final.

28 July: Against all odds, the Sharks beat the Stormers 26-19 in their Super Rugby semi-final at Newlands in Cape Town. This is the first time that an away side has beaten the Stormers at their home ground in 2012.

4 August: The Sharks are beaten 37-6 by the Chiefs in a one-sided Super Rugby Final at Hamilton's Waikato Stadium.

16 August: The South African Rugby Union confirm that the Southern Kings will join the Stormers, Bulls, Sharks and Cheetahs in the 2013 Super Rugby tournament, The Kings' entry comes at the expense of the Lions who finished bottom of the South African Conference in 2012.

18 August: History is made at Newlands in Cape Town when South Africa plays host to newcomers Argentina in an expanded southern hemisphere tournament. The Springboks beat the Pumas 27-6.

19 August: Springbok hooker Bismarck du Plessis is ruled out for the the rest of 2012 after tearing knee ligaments in the victory against Argentina.

25 August: South Africa need a late charge-down try to snatch a 16-all draw against Argentina at Estadio Malvinas Argentinas in Mendoza. This is the Pumas' best result in 15 Tests with the Springboks.

14 September: The Southern Kings show their intent for 2013's Super Rugby campaign by signing Cheetahs centre Andries Strauss and Sharks lock Steven Sykes.

15 September: Perennial Currie Cup challengers the Blue Bulls are in dire straits after losing 49-34 to Griquas at the GWK Stadium in Kimberley. This is the Pretoria-based outfit's third successive loss and keeps them rooted to the bottom of the points table. They would bounce back, however, with several important victories and sneak into the tournament's semi-finals via the back door.

29 September: South Africa bounce back from consecutive defeats on the road with a comprehensive 31-8 Rugby Championship victory over Australia at Loftus Versfeld in Pretoria. This would be their biggest win of the year.

5 October: With just two rounds of league matches left to play in the Currie Cup, each of the six teams still have a chance of qualifying for the play-offs.

13 October: The Blue Bulls clinch the final spot in the Currie Cup semi-finals after a thrilling 50-29 win over the Golden Lions in Johannesburg. They join eventual champions Western Province, the Sharks and the Lions in the play-offs.

26 October: Free State Cheetahs retain their Currie Cup Premier Division status with a 16-6 win in the second leg of their promotion/relegation play-off against the EP Kings in Port Elizabeth. This after they won the first leg of the play-off 53-14 in Bloemfontein the previous week.

27 October: Western Province claim their first Currie Cup title since 2001 with a 25-18 win over the Sharks in Durban.

28 October: Springbok coach Heyneke Meyer recall Saracens hooker Schalk Brits and Toulouse prop Gurthrö Steenkamp for the Boks' tour to Europe.

1 November: Springbok wing Bryan Habana is named South African Rugby Player of the Year for the third time. Bok lock Eben Etzebeth wins the Young Player of the Year award.

10 November: The Springboks are dealt a blow on the morning of their first end-of-year Test against Ireland when prop Beast Mtawarira withdraws from the side due to a recurrence of mild heart palpitations. The condition would lead to Mtawarira being withdrawn from the touring squad.

13 November: Lions coach John Mitchell returns to the Johannesburg-based outfit, after being cleared of all misconduct charges.

24 November: The Springboks finish their end-of-year tour to Eurpoe on a high, with a 16-15 win over England at Twickenham. This means that they are unbeaten on the three-Test trip to the northern hemisphere after beating Ireland and Scotland in their previous matches.

28 November: Former All Blacks boss John Mitchell joins Premiersdhip outfit, Sale on a full-time basis shortly after terminating his contract with the Lions.

29 November: Bryan Habana's spectacular try for South Africa against New Zealand in the Rugby Championship wins him the International Rugby Players' Association's (IRPA) Try of the Year award.

6 December: SARU announces that South Africa will host Scotland, Italy and Samoa in a four-team tournament in June 2013.

9 December: New Zealand claim the Sevens title in South Africa for a record fourth successive year after beating France 47-12 in the final in Port Elizabeth's Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium.

18 December: Springboks and Blue Bulls lock Juandrè Kruger agrees a deal to join Top 14 side Racing Metro in 2013.




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